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Brewers Retaining Faith In Taylor Williams



MILWAUKEE—The Brewers haven’t forgotten about Taylor Williams, so they figured other teams would remember him as well.

With that in mind, the Brewers added the 25-year-old righthander to their 40-man roster to protect him in the Rule 5 draft despite the fact that he has not thrown a pitch since the 2014 season. Williams missed the past two years while recovering from an elbow injury that eventually required Tommy John surgery.

The Brewers made the decision after Williams, once one of their top pitching prospects, resurfaced in instructional league throwing the ball as well as ever. His fastball was regularly clocked above 95 mph and though his slider was somewhat erratic, it still had the bite that made him a pitcher to watch before getting injured.

While the Brewers were quite pleased, they knew scouts from other clubs also monitored William’s progress.

"He pitched really well in instructional league,” general manager David Stearns said. "He proved that he was healthy and came back to where he was pre-surgery. We thought it was in our best interest to protect him and make sure he stays a Brewer.”

Invited to his first big league camp as a non-roster player in 2015, Williams opened eyes in early bullpen sessions, even drawing raves from Ryan Braun. But he might have overdone it because he developed elbow issues before camp was done and opened that season on the disabled list.

After a long period of therapy and rehabilitation, Williams was given a platelet-rich plasma injection as a last resort to avoid surgery. It did not work, however, and Williams had Tommy John surgery in August of that year, which sidelined him for the entire 2016 season as well.

The other four players protected were not surprises—outfielders Lewis Brinson, Ryan Cordell and Brett Phillips, and lefthander Josh Hader.

MICROBREWS

The Brewers claimed outfielder Adam Walker but then lost him on a waiver claim to the Orioles. Walker, 25, played at Milwaukee Lutheran High School before going to Jacksonville and becoming a third-round draft pick of the Twins in 2012.

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Righthander Paolo Espino, 29, who pitched the past three seasons in Washington’s system, was signed to a minor league deal and invited to spring training.

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